Recorded May 8, 2014.
Last night’s book party was amazing. Take 5 is a small café/gallery in South Berkeley, a section of Berkeley that has not yet been gentrified, but is on its way to it. Take 5 has sandwich boards sitting in the median strip along the busy street saying ‘THE BEST COFFEE IN SOUTH BERKELEY’. Karen, the owner of the café enthusiastically offered us her place for this Book Party, knowing that there might not be a lot of people that show up so she might not make many sales, but saw it as an opportunity to let the community know that she is there. And as usual, Corey and Alexi (& Erika on her days off from work) plastered Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco with our flier.
We arrived an hour and a half before start time to do our usual set up in Karen’s amazing gallery full of unique collectibles & furniture. Our set up included hanging on the walls the large vinyls of Frank’s paintings, setting up the books and give away displays, setting up the large beautiful photo of Frank on the easel, the mic and amp, Tha Archivez keyboard, etc. etc. We managed to be done early enough so that we could buy a full plate of an assortment of Karen’s delicious homemade baked goods, along with organic herbal and black teas in beautiful small tea pots and killer hot chocolates! We sat on a big sofa and enjoyed our treats on a glass table in a room that had been transformed into Frank’s magic cave. If that had been all that happened, it would have been very, very satisfying!
The first person arrived early and ordered himself some food before the Party got started. Another sale for Karen! We got into position, camera on, and people started arriving. The small group included a couple of people who have been following Frank since the 1970s Mabuhay Days, one of which said, I don’t think Frank liked me very much, but I wanted to come tonight to say how much I respected Frank and what he did. This guy had notoriously been the guy that provoked Frank and John the Baker to sing at top volume to him, John’s song, FUCK THE FASCIST U.S.A. when he had arrived at our FUCK THE WAR BALL at John’s Burnt Ramen in a very bad part of Richmond wanting to debate Frank about not supporting our country in the war. He bought a book last night!
Two of our neighbors came, who had already bought 2 copies of the book from us and who had never attended any other of our events. There was a young guy who only knew Frank from seeing fliers around town. At one point more than half way through the evening, after everyone had taken a turn reading a section of the book, the young guy said he was particularly interested in the Shamanistic aspect of what Frank did … how to bring that reality into this Western Culture. We read a few more of Frank’s pieces that addressed this, but then got talking about how we live and Frank’s very practical, everyday living, enjoying, focusing on each other way of shamanistically, sneakily leaking magic into the world. Forgetting for the moment that two of our neighbors were right there, we started talking about how neighbors tell us how important it is to them to have us on the block and our neighbors in the audience piped up supporting what we were saying in such a moving way! Frank’s magic filled the room.
We ended the evening with Tha Archivez (aka Kene-J, aka Frank’s son) singing “To Be Free” the song he wrote inspired by playing music at Frank’s performance for these past years. He opened by telling everyone how many hits on Vimeo the “music video” of that song from one of our performance had gotten!
( vimeo.com/47973331 )
After the party ended, our neighbor told us he had always felt great feelings about us as neighbors, and then finding out more when Frank ran for President in 2008, and now reading the book and seeing how deep this all goes. He said how much it meant to him that we were continuing on with Frank’s work. It was so moving to be seen like that. Frank always said, these are the things that give us fuel, keep us going. Yes, yes, yes.
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